Friday, 28 November 2014

The Best Of 2011 - part 1

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1

Well, here we are - my final year-end top 100... until I count down my favourite songs for 2014 in a few weeks' time. And, since I've already completed my lists for 2012 and 2013 on this blog, we're concluding my journey through years past with 2011.

Calvin Harris found himself some US chart action in 2011

For me, 2011 was a pretty unremarkable year, but it was anything but that in the wider world - with news dominated by the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the death of Osama bin Laden, the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Here were some of the songs making headlines (for me, at least) that year...

Number 100 "Rocketeer" by Far East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder
I wasn't so keen on Far East Movement's 2010 breakthrough hit, "Like A G6", but it was a different story when it came to follow-up "Rocketeer" - although that was mainly due to the fact that the latter was co-written by Bruno Mars and featured OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder on vocals.

Number 99 "Junk Of The Heart (Happy)" by The Kooks
Like Kaiser Chiefs and Razorlight before them, The Kooks found their fortunes fading with the release of their third album, as singles like "Junk Of The Heart (Happy)" and "Is It Me" failed to hit the UK top 40, and the album barely scraped the top 10. Musically, the band seemed to have lost their edge as well - and while I still enjoyed their music, it did seem a bit more middle of the road than previously.

Number 98 Beth Ditto EP by Beth Ditto
Taking another break from her duties as Gossip frontwoman (following her Simian Mobile Disco collaboration in 2009), Beth Ditto released a self-titled four-track EP in 2011 on the Deconstruction label. Track 2, "I Wrote The Book", was lifted as a single and came with a Madonna-referencing music video.

Number 97 "Lights" by Ellie Goulding
Some songs take a while to become hits - and then there's "Lights", which first surfaced as a bonus track on Ellie Goulding's debut album of the same name in February 2010. Remixed for the album's repackage as Bright Lights towards the end of the year, "Lights" was eventually released as a single in its own right in early 2011 - and while it didn't even manage a place in the UK top 40, it went all the way to number 2 in the US (although it took 33 weeks to get there).

Number 96 "Mirrors" by Natalia Kills
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 95 "It's Too Late" by JES
Previously a member of dance act Motorcycle (responsible for 2004's "As The Rush Comes") before signing to Dutch DJ/producer TiĆ«sto's record label as a solo artists, American singer Jes Brieden released her third album, High Glow, in 2010, from which "It's Too Late" was the fourth single. The mix in the music video isn't the one I like - but I need to work my way through all the remixes that exist to work out which version it is I have.

Number 94 "Warzone" by The Wanted
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 93 "Summersun" by Miami Horror
The fifth and final single from their debut album, Illumination, was another non-hit for Australia's own New Order - and doesn't seem to have had a music video made for it. It'd be two years before we'd hear any new music from the Melbourne-based synthpop group - but so far they haven't released anything as good.

Number 92 "Gold Forever" by The Wanted
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 91 "Hair" by Lady Gaga
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 90 "Feel So Close" by Calvin Harris
He'd enjoyed hits in the UK for years, but in 2011, Scottish DJ/producer Calvin Harris went global - with a little thanks to Rihanna (whose single "We Found Love" he wrote, produced and featured on). As a result of that track's success, "Feel So Close", which had actually preceded "We Found Love", became Calvin's first single in his own right to hit the Billboard Hot 100. In the UK, "Feel So Close" was the second of eight singles from eventual album 18 Months - all of them top 10 hits (including four consecutive number 2s).

Number 89 "All Fired Up" by The Saturdays
Another act getting used to big UK hits was girl group The Saturdays, who'd only failed to reach the top 10 with one of their previous singles ("Work"). They made it again with this club-oriented track, which hit number 3. Included among the seven songwriters credited on the song was production team Xenomania, who'd traditionally worked with Girls Aloud but got their girl group fix in 2011 from The Saturdays instead.

Number 88 "Best Thing I Never Had" by Beyonce Knowles
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 87 "Galaxy" by Jessica Mauboy / Stan Walker
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 86 "Dial My Number" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Mentioned below

Number 85 "Ready 2 Go" by Martin Solveig featuring Kele
For once not working with Dragonette, French DJ/producer Martin Solveig enlisted the vocal services of Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke instead for this third single from the Smash album.

Number 84 "Sexual Lifestyle" by Strange Talk
While Miami Horror wound up their debut album campaign, another Australian synthpop band was just getting started. "Sexual Lifestyle" was the second release by fellow Melbourne group Strange Talk, whose self-titled EP had come out earlier in 2011. 

Number 83 "Girls Like You" by The Naked & Famous
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 82 "Believer" by Freemasons featuring Wynter Gordon
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 81 "What A Feeling" by Alex Gaudino featuring Kelly Rowland
Her reputation as a dance diva firmly established, Kelly Rowland once again lent her vocals to a club smash in 2011 - this UK top 10 hit by the Italian DJ/producer best known for 2007's "Destination Calabria".

Number 80 "Starlight" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Including singles dating back to 2009's "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)", Sophie Ellis-Bextor's fourth album, Make A Scene, might have been her least commercially successful but it didn't mean she had to go and shift musical direction (with this year's Wanderlust). Besides "Starlight", which was Make A Scene's sixth single, album track "Dial My Number" (number 86 on this list) also makes my top 100 for the year.

Number 79 "Come On" by Will Young
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 78 "Black Out The Sun" by Darren Hayes
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 77 "A Day Late And A Dollar Short" by Scritti Politti
It'd been five years since Scritti Politti's last studio album and two decades since they'd released anything I'd enjoyed, so it was a bit of a surprise when best of retrospective Absolute was released in 2011. Two new tracks were included on the album, both of which saw frontman Green Gartside reunite with former band member David Gamson, who was involved in the two Scritti Politti albums I liked: Cupid And Psyche 85 and Provision. As a result, "A Day Late And A Dollar Short" became my favourite song by the band since 1991's "She's A Woman".

Number 76 "What Happened To Us" by Jessica Mauboy / Jay Sean
Mentioned in Part 3

In Part 2: Scandipop, scandipop and more scandipop. Plus Rihanna releases yet another album and a new Disney star emerges.

1979 II 1980 II 1981 II 1982 II 1983 II 1984 II 1985 II 1986 II 1987 II 1988 II 1989
1990 II 1991 II 1992 II 1993 II 1994 II 1995 II 1996 II 1997 II 1998 II 1999
2000 II 2001 II 2002 II 2003 II 2004 II 2005 II 2006 II 2007 II 2008 II 2009
2010 II 2011 II 2012 II 2013 II 2014 II 2015 II 2016

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

This Week In 1989: November 26, 1989

Everything old was new again on the ARIA chart this week in 1989, with a couple of comebacks by artists that had been hugely successful at the start of the decade and the return of a song that'd been a massive hit five years earlier.

The B-52's and their funky little shack took the chart by storm

OK, not everything was old, with another Italo house release making the top 50 and the brand new musical project for a former girl group member. But with the top four dominated by veteran acts and songs, the top 50 was beginning to feel a little long in the tooth.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending November 26, 1989

Speaking of the top of the chart, Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" held strong at the top of a static top 4, which also included Alice Cooper, Billy Joel and runner-up Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers

"Ghostbusters" by Run DMC
Peak: number 56
The original version of the song reached number 2 and spent a mammoth 21 weeks in the top 10 back in 1984 when the first Ghostbusters film was released, but this revamped version for the sequel by rap trio Run DMC missed the top 50 altogether. Sounding more like something you'd expect from The Fat Boys, the trio's update of the Ray Parker Jr classic did avoid the elements of the original that had resulted in an out-of-court settlement with Huey Lewis & The News (for sounding too similar to "I Want A New Drug"). Lesson learnt, then. The Ghostbusters II soundtrack would produce a bigger hit than this - and we'll see it arrive on the top 50 next week.

"Everyday Now" by Texas
Peak: number 52
Last week, we saw perpetual chart misser Debbie Gibson once again fail to crack the top 50 with her latest release - and here was another act who were starting to make a habit of falling short. As it did in the UK, "Everyday Now" made a slight improvement on predecessor "Thrill Has Gone" (which reached number 60 in Australia a couple of months earlier), but not enough to break the one-hit wonder tag Texas would wear for quite a few years to come. Small wonder, since the band's third single was another bland tune that lacked the spark of debut release "I Don't Want A Lover".

New Entries
Number 49 "Numero Uno" by Starlight
Peak: number 23
While "Ride On Time" leapt up to number 14 on this week's chart, another Italo house single masterminded by the same producers (Daniele Davoli, Mirko Limoni and Valerio Semplici) under one of their many aliases bulleted into the top 50. "Numero Uno" wouldn't end up as big a hit as the Black Box single but it did establish that Australia's appetite for dance tracks had increased since the start of the year when club hits by Soul II Soul and Inner City failed to make much of an impression.

Number 48 "You're History" by Shakespear's Sister
Peak: number 20

Bananarama had moved on since the departure of founding member Siobhan Fahey, and now the fruits of her labour away from the girl group found their way onto the chart. "You're History" couldn't have been more different from "I Want You Back", "Nathan Jones" or "Love, Truth And Honesty", which made sense given Siobhan left Bananarama because she was unhappy about the trio's musical direction (thanks to producers Stock Aitken Waterman). 
Named after a slightly differently spelt song by The Smiths, Shakespear's Sister (the apostrophe was still intact at this stage) had started out as a solo project for Siobhan, and "Break My Heart (You Really) / Heroine" was released as a double A-side debut single. But, one became two when collaborator Marcella Detroit was promoted to regular band member status - and "You're History" established the vocally mismatched pair as a unique force in music. 

Number 34 "I Want That Man" by Deborah Harry
Peak: number 2

At 44 years of age, Deborah (not Debbie, anymore) Harry ranked as one of pop's elder stateswomen but proved her best days weren't behind her with this lead single from the Def, Dumb & Blonde album - at least in Australia. 
While "I Want That Man" was a massive hit locally, it didn't even make the Billboard Hot 100 and missed the UK top 10. In fact, in America, Deborah never had a top 40 solo hit - a far cry from all the success she enjoyed as lead singer of Blondie. 
Written by Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie, the song features the line "here comes the 21st century" and, as a result, was one of many songs re-released in time for Y2K to cash in on their lyrical relevance (see also: "1999", "The Final Countdown").

Number 27 "Love Shack" by The B-52's
Peak: number 1

The B-52's had had a rough time of it since their last appearances on the ARIA top 50 back in the early '80s. Musically, they released two less-than-successful albums in the form of Whammy! and Bouncing Off The Satellites, and tragically, founding band member Ricky Wilson passed away in 1985. 
"Love Shack" changed all that. The second single from 1989's Cosmic Thing album - the first, "Channel Z", would be re-released in 1990 - it was as unique and quirky as earlier hits "Rock Lobster" or "Private Idaho" but thanks to production from Don Was (of Was (Not Was) fame), it was much more commercial than either of those songs.
With quotable lyrics like "so hurry up and bring your jukebox money", "hop in my Chrysler, it's as big as a whale and it's about to set sail" and the initially indecipherable "tin roof, rusted", "Love Shack" quickly became the song of summer '89/'90, spending eight weeks at number 1 and entering into the wedding reception/21st birthday party canon. Like "Mickey" and "Come On Eileen", "Love Shack" was almost ruined thanks to being flogged to death, but there's no denying it's a brilliant and totally original song.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989 (updated weekly):

Next week: the arrival of the aforementioned hit single from Ghostbusters II, another new dance hit and Jive Bunny starts to multiply like, well, you know.

Back to: Nov 19, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Dec 3, 1989

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

This Week In 1989: November 19, 1989

In the almost two-and-a-half years that I've been writing this blog, the thing that's surprised me the most has been just how many novelty songs hit the ARIA top 50 in the late '80s. Of course, novelty records can take several forms - the intentionally funny (Morris Minor & The Majors, Kylie Mole), the sci-fi tie-in (The Firm, The Timelords, ALF) and the lewd (Clarence Carter), for example.

There was nothing funny about Phil Collins' 1989 album

This week in 1989, two novelty songs entered the ARIA singles chart - one aiming for laughs from a well-known group of comedians, and the other incorporating sounds that made it both titillating and a guaranteed hit. Meanwhile, one of the most successful male artists of the '80s returned with the first taste of his un-funny new album.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending November 19, 1989

At number 1 this week in 1989, Cher kept another novelty record - "Swing The Mood" by Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers - at bay as she spent her third non-consecutive week on top with "If I Could Turn Back Time".

"Hide Your Heart" by KISS
Peak: number 60
A few weeks back, we saw the debut of Tina Turner's "The Best", a song originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler. And here's another track released by the Welsh singer before it went on to be made more famous by a different act. This time, however, the song was actually co-written by KISS member Paul Stanley, which explains why the band might've wanted to try their hand at it, including it on their Hot In The Shade album and releasing it as the lead single. 
Interestingly, a rival version was also recorded by former KISS member Ace Frehley for his Trouble Walkin' album, which came out around the same time. Even more curious was the fact that despite "Hide Your Heart" not being that great a song, two more covers were recorded in 1989 - one by Molly Hatchet (a band) and another by Robin Beck (a solo female artist who hit number 1 in the UK in 1988 with Coke ad theme "First Time").

"We Could Be Together" by Debbie Gibson
Peak: number 57
Poor Debbie Gibson - she really did seem destined to just miss the top 50 more often than she cracked it. Hot on the heels of number 58 single "No More Rhyme", this fourth release from Electric Youth also puttered out just short of the chart. And, like the album's title track, "We Could Be Together" was another song that seemed to go on and on, with a couple of bridges, an a cappella bit and a never-ending series of choruses - and that was with a minute cut off the album version.

New Entries
Number 49 "French Kiss" by Lil Louis
Peak: number 35
Let's face it, the only reason this otherwise repetitive dance track made such an impact on charts (including a number 2 peak in the UK) is because of the sexual moaning in the middle when the BPM drops. 
I was in Year 9 at the time and remember playing "French Kiss" to a group of class-mates who were instantly taken with the track - after all, no one gets more excited by moaning women than 14-year-old boys. Speaking of kids, call me a prude, but I'm not sure of the appropriateness of featuring youngsters in the music video of a song with an orgasmic breakdown.
Rude sex noises aside, "French Kiss" is in one other way literally a novelty record, since the slowing down and complete stopping of the beat was unprecedented. The track was the only hit for Lil Louis, aka Louis Sims, but it's lived on thanks to it being regularly sampled in the years since.

Number 48 "Another Day In Paradise" by Phil Collins
Peak: number 11
Now he'd finished with his acting work (for the time being), Phil Collins got on with his day job as a recording artist and released his latest studio album, ...But Seriously - his first in four years. "Another Day In Paradise" was the ultra-serious lead single from the album and Phil's 20th solo single of the '80s - and one of my least favourite. The song about homelessness was also the first of six singles that would end up being taken from the album, and easily the most successful - a number 1 in the US, a number 2 in the UK and the Grammy Award winner for Record Of The Year.

Number 43 "Don't Wanna Lose You" by Gloria Estefan
Peak: number 40

Here's another dreary ballad - and another US number 1 - from an artist whose music I otherwise liked in the '80s. The Diana Ross of the Latin music scene, Gloria completed her transition from Miami Sound Machine member to named vocalist to solo star with her 1989 album, Cuts Both Ways. Not a massive hit in Australia, "Don't Wanna Lose You" at least did better than its American follow-up, the far superior and much more energetic "Get On Your Feet", which belatedly reached number 98 in late 1990 after Gloria's Australian record company had exhausted all the album's big ballad singles.

Number 34 "Sometimes" by Max Q
Peak: number 31

Looks like the, er, novelty of the Max Q project wore off pretty quickly, with Michael Hutchence's side project from INXS stumbling when this second single fell some way short of the top 10 achievement of debut release "Way Of The World". A third single, "Monday Night By Satellite", from the band's self-titled album was released in 1990, but it didn't even reach the top 100 - and that was that.

Number 29 "Five In A Row" by The D-Generation
Peak: number 12

This week's second novelty record was the first of two parody singles by comedy team The D-Generation, who at that stage were a few years out of university, and making a name for themselves in TV specials and a breakfast show on Melbourne's Triple M. Taking easy shots at a handful of Australia's most prominent music stars (John Farnham, Jimmy Barnes, Little River Band, Kylie Minogue and James Reyne), the gags in "Five In A Row" are linked together by patter from a radio DJ character played by Rob Sitch. While the whole thing was reasonably amusing, I can't for the life of me think why you'd want to own the record and play it again and again, especially without the music video.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989 (updated weekly):

Next week: the song of the summer (and wedding receptions for decades to come) arrives, plus more Italo house and the return of one of the most iconic singers of the late '70s and early '80s.

Back to: Nov 12, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Nov 26, 1989

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Best Of 2010 - part 4

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1

Thanks to digital downloading, singles sales were higher than ever in 2010. The downside for the music industry? The ability of the consumer to pick and choose tracks would have an impact on albums sales. Another side effect was that an increasing amount of artists didn't even bother to release albums, issuing EPs instead. It made sense - why go to the expense of producing 15 tracks, many of which would be fillers and only some of which would sell, when you could release a handful of higher quality tunes that would be more likely to be snapped up? And it wasn't just emerging artists using the format.

So stylish it Hurts - my favourite new band in 2010

As a pop fan, EPs had never been that prominent on my charts - save for the odd Erasure release, the format was traditionally the domain of indie bands. So, I wasn't quite sure how they should factor into my chart - especially since I was already allowing album tracks to be included. Should I also allow multiple tracks from an EP as separate entries or group them together like a single? My answer to that question would change over the coming years. Watch out for a couple of songs from EPs in my top 25 for 2010...

Number 25 "What If" by Jason Derulo
Mentioned below

Number 24 "Lose My Mind" by The Wanted
Just when it seemed like the age of the boy band was finally over, along came a five-piece from the UK (and Ireland, if we want to be completely accurate) who took advantage of a complete lack of competition to quickly become the hottest pop property on the charts. The Wanted's debut single "All Time Low" was a chart-topper in the UK, but it was this third single that convinced me (even though it was only a number 19 hit in Britain). The Wanted would consolidate their position over the next few years, and, possibly more importantly, open the boy band door back up for subsequent acts like One Direction and 5 Seconds Of Summer.

Number 23 "Higher" by The Saturdays featuring Flo Rida
Girl groups were also pretty thin on the ground in 2010, with Girls Aloud, Sugababes and Pussycat Dolls all winding down or on a break. Thank goodness for The Saturdays, who kept on churning out singles and with "Higher" came up with a second genuinely brilliant single (following 2009's "Forever Is Over").

Number 22 "Time Machine" by Robyn
Mentioned below

Number 21 "Beautiful Monster" by Ne-Yo
It's not often you hear of a pop/R&B act doing a concept album, but that exactly what Ne-Yo was going for with his 2010 opus, Libra Scale. During the year, he visited Australia to explain the album and play a few videos to media - and I have to say, I appreciated his enthusiasm and imagination. In a world where artists were increasingly releasing any old party/clubbing track in an attempt to cash in on the popularity of EDM, it was nice to hear the thought that had gone into Ne-Yo's album and how the songs tied in with the plot he'd invented. Of course, all the complicated stories about garbage men imbued with super powers in the world would've made no difference if the songs weren't up to scratch - but singles like "Beautiful Monster" and "One In A Million" (number 93 on this list) were as good as anything he'd released before.

Number 20 "Indestructible" by Robyn
Mentioned below

Number 19 "Submission" by Delphic
Mentioned below

Number 18 "If I Had You" by Adam Lambert
With his first decent-sized hit (2009's "Whataya Want From Me") under his studded belt, Adam Lambert stuck with the Max Martin productions for his next single - which became his biggest single in Australia, reaching number 4 and selling slightly more than "Whataya Want From Me". Although he could have kept releasing singles from For Your Entertainment, Adam's only other 2010 release was promotional single "Fever" (number 94 on this list).

Number 17 "Bang Bang Bang" by Mark Ronson & The Business Intl featuring Q-Tip & MNDR
Having established himself as an artist in his own right and not just a producer - thanks to his reinterpretations of other people's songs on the Version album - Mark Ronson returned to releasing original music in 2010. Well, an original song that borrowed from nursery rhyme "Alouette". "Bang Bang Bang" was the lead single from Record Collection and became Mark's most successful non-cover version and his first top 50 hit in Australia.

Number 16 "You've Changed" by Sia
She'd been quietly beavering away on the outskirts of the mainstream for a decade, but in 2010, Sia Furler started to get the recognition she deserved - and it was all thanks to her We Are Born album, which featured "You've Changed" and "Clap Your Hands" (number 83 on this list). Both singles became Sia's first songs to chart inside the ARIA top 50, while the album improved on her previous albums chart peak by 39 spots when it reached number 2.

Number 15 "Fader" by The Temper Trap
After all the fuss that was made of The Temper Trap's debut single, "Sweet Disposition", I'm surprised this third single from Conditions wasn't a bigger hit, since it's easily just as catchy - if not more so. Only just scraping into the ARIA top 50 on its original release early in 2010, "Fader" was re-promoted later in the year after the song popped up in movies, TV shows and ads - and it was all that attention that sold the song to me.

Number 14 "Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)" by a-ha
Most people outside of Norway would probably have been shocked to discover synthpop trio a-ha were still releasing music in 2010 - but the band behind iconic '80s hit "Take On Me" actually bowed out of the music industry with this, their final ever single. A great end to a career I'd followed over the two-and-a-half decades since that global chart-topper.

Number 13 "Doubt" by Delphic
Mentioned below

Number 12 "Turn It Up" by Grum
From synthpop legends to a new name in the genre: Grum, whose real name is actually Graeme Shepherd. "Turn It Up" wasn't released as a single from debut album Heartbeats, but it was a standout track for me after featuring as an iTunes single of the week. A song that was issued as a single was "Through The Night" (number 48 on this list), which came with an awesome video inspired by '80s cop shows.

Number 11 "In My Head" by Jason Derulo
Darkchild, RedOne... singers had been singing the names of the producers of their records for years, so why not their own? In 2010, a male artist arrived on the scene who quickly became known for incorporating his name into his tunes. I remember interviewing him around the time of debut single "Watcha Say" and asking him about the practice, but by the time he served as a judge on short-lived dance show Everybody Dance Now, I was warned ahead of the interview not to ask him about it. Guess the novelty wore off.
Back in 2010, Jason's name quickly became uttered in the same sentence as Usher and Ne-Yo thanks to the R&B/dance sound of hit singles like "In My Head", "What If" (number 25 on this list) and "The Sky's The Limit", and album track "Love Hangover" (number 57), as well as his slick dance moves. 

Number 10 "DJ (I Could Be Dancing)" by Alphabeat
Here's another excellent single from Danish pop combo Alphabeat's second album, which was alternatively titled The Spell or The Beat Is... depending on where you lived. "DJ" was followed by either "Heatwave" (number 69 on this list) or "Hole In My Heart" (number 78) - again, depending on the territory. But, it was album track "Always Up With You" (number 37) that was my next favourite song of theirs in 2010.

Number 9 "Get Outta My Way" by Kylie Minogue
Mentioned in Part 3 and previously featured here

Number 8 "Left Too Late" by Florrie
Next up, an artist who is still to release a full album and instead has regularly issued EPs of new material. Not only a singer, Florence Arnold is also a songwriter (she co-wrote the song at number 2 on this list) and, most interestingly, a drummer - serving as the in-house drummer for pop production supremos Xenomania since 2008. "Left Too Late" was taken from Florrie's debut EP, Introduction

Number 7 "Ambitions" by Joe McElderry
After winning season six of the UK version of The X Factor, 19-year-old Joe McElderry should have been a shoe-in for the Christmas number 1 in 2009 with his version of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb", but a social media campaign supporting Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name" put paid to that (although Joe rose to the summit after the festive season). 
For single number two, Joe (or his record company) went with another cover - this time a remake of the debut single by Norwegian pop group Donkeyboy, a number 1 for them back home and in Sweden in 2009. Joe's version upped the pace and made "Ambitions" even more of a joyous pop anthem, but it didn't quite achieve the desired result in the UK, peaking at number 6. 
That was considerably better, however, than follow-up "Someone Wake Me Up" (number 96 on this list), which bombed at number 68. Things followed a predictable course after that - Joe was let go from his record deal with Syco and a career in covers albums, reality TV and musical theatre beckoned.

Number 6 "Tokyo (Vampires And Wolves)" by The Wombats
Another act rather fond of an EP is this indie band from Liverpool - that's Liverpool, UK and not Liverpool, Australia, although given the band name and the title of their debut release, Girls, Boys and Marsupials, you'd be forgiven for making that mistake. This lead single from the This Modern Glitch album was a bit more synth-y than normal, which explains why it's far and away my favourite song by the band.

Number 5 "Hang With Me" by Robyn
Were they EPs or mini-albums? Either way, Robyn's three Body Talk releases were another spin on the traditional release system - and it was pretty exciting to get a batch of new songs from her every few months. Especially when they were as good as "Hang With Me" from Body Talk Pt. 2, "Indestructible" (number 20 on this list) and "Time Machine" (number 22) - both from Body Talk Pt. 3 - and "Dancing On My Own" (number 31) from Body Talk Pt. 1. In an especially busy year for the Swedish star, she also performed on "Caesar" by I Blame Coco (number 70).

Number 4 "Wonderful Life" by Hurts
Mentioned below

Number 3 "Halcyon" by Delphic
In any other year, Delphic would have been my favourite new band, thanks to singles "Halcyon" and "Doubt" (number 13 on this list), and album track "Submission" (number 19), which were all taken from debut album Acolyte and bore more than a passing resemblance to the sound of New Order. Not that that's a bad thing!

Number 2 "One Touch" by Mini Viva
Previously featured here

Number 1 "Better Than Love" by Hurts
Beating Delphic to the title of my favourite new band for 2010 was this duo, also from the UK. Comprised of sharp-suited vocalist Theo Hutchcraft and just-as-slick keyboard player Adam Anderson, Hurts followed in the tradition of Pet Shop Boys with songs like "Better Than Love" and "Wonderful Life" (number 4 on this list) expertly blending joy and melancholy over a synthesised beat. Strangely, neither song was particularly big in the UK - although album Happiness did make the top 5 - but they did achieve top 10 positions across Europe.

My top 200 for 2010 in full:

1          BETTER THAN LOVE Hurts
2          ONE TOUCH Mini Viva
3          HALCYON Delphic
4          WONDERFUL LIFE Hurts
5          HANG WITH ME Robyn
6          TOKYO (VAMPIRES AND WOLVES) The Wombats
7          AMBITIONS Joe McElderry
8          LEFT TOO LATE Florrie
9          GET OUTTA MY WAY Kylie Minogue
10        DJ (I COULD BE DANCING) Alphabeat
11        IN MY HEAD Jason Derulo
12        TURN IT UP Grum
13        DOUBT Delphic
15        FADER The Temper Trap
16        YOU’VE CHANGED Sia
17        BANG BANG BANG Mark Ronson & The Business Intl featuring Q-Tip & MNDR
18        IF I HAD YOU Adam Lambert
19        SUBMISSION Delphic
20        INDESTRUCTIBLE Robyn
22        TIME MACHINE Robyn
23        HIGHER The Saturdays featuring Flo Rida
24        LOSE MY MIND The Wanted
25        WHAT IF Jason Derulo
26        LOVE PART II Bright Light Bright Light
27        DANCE IN THE DARK Lady Gaga
28        BROKEN HEELS Alexandra Burke
29        DJ GOT US FALLING IN LOVE Usher featuring Pitbull
30        ON AND ON Agnes
31        DANCING ON MY OWN Robyn
32        ALL NIGHT LONG Alexandra Burke featuring Pitbull
33        HIGHER Taio Cruz featuring Kylie Minogue
34        WAY BACK HOME Bag Raiders
35        I AM YOUR SKIN The Bravery
36        POISON Nicole Scherzinger
37        ALWAYS UP WITH YOU Alphabeat
38        LIGHTS DOWN LOW Kim Wilde
39        ROCKET Goldfrapp
40        BITTERSWEET Sophie Ellis-Bextor
41        ALIVE Goldfrapp
42        GRENADE Bruno Mars
43        UMBRELLA BEACH Owl City
44        PROMISE THIS Cheryl Cole
45        WE RULE THE WORLD Dragonette
46        THE FLOOD Take That
47        STARRY EYED Ellie Goulding
48        THROUGH THE NIGHT Grum
49        HISTORY Groove Armada featuring Will Young
50        JUST THE WAY YOU ARE Bruno Mars
51        SYMMETRY Little Boots featuring Phil Oakey
52        DON’T STOP Annie
53        RAISE YOUR GLASS Pink
54        O.N.E Yeasayer
55        ANNIE YOU SAVE ME Grafitti6
56        TEENAGE DREAM Glee Cast
57        LOVE HANGOVER Jason Derulo
58        STAND UP Cheryl Cole
59        GIVE IT UP Maniac
60        COMMANDER Kelly Rowland featuring David Guetta
61        MISERY Maroon 5
62        HEARTS DON’T LIE Gabriella Cilmi
63        OVERCOME Alexandra Burke
64        ACAPELLA Kelis
65        BABY I’M GETTING BETTER Gyroscope
66        ALL YOU NEED IS NOW Duran Duran
67        LOVE LOVE LOVE Agnes
68        FIND YOUR LOVE Drake
69        HEATWAVE Alphabeat
70        CAESAR I Blame Coco featuring Robyn
71        I WANNA LIFE Goldfrapp
72        HAPPINESS / WIDEBOYS MIX Alexis Jordan
73        FREEFALLIN’ Zoe Badwi
74        NOT IN LOVE Crystal Castles featuring Robert Smith
75        JACKSON’S LAST STAND Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
76        HANDS Ting Tings
78        HOLE IN MY HEART Alphabeat
79        CRUEL INTENTIONS Simian Mobile Disco featuring Beth Ditto
80        THE SKY’S THE LIMIT Jason Derulo
81        PARTY GIRL McFly
82        WEAR MY KISS Sugababes
83        CLAP YOUR HANDS Sia
84        DANCE THE WAY I FEEL Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
85        LOCO Annie
86        LAST DAYS OF DISCO Robbie Williams
87        ON A MISSION Gabriella Cilmi
88        ALL THE LOVERS Kylie Minogue
89        ONLY GIRL (IN THE WORLD) Rihanna
90        MOON THEORY Miami Horror
91        ANIMAL Neon Trees
92        MAGIC B.o.B featuring Rivers Cuomo
93        ONE IN A MILLION Ne-Yo
94        FEVER Adam Lambert
95        BETTER THAN TODAY Kylie Minogue
96        SOMEONE WAKE ME UP Joe McElderry
97        WHITE KNUCKLE RIDE Jamiroquai
98        THE KEY Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
99        WATERCOLOUR Pendulum
100      MEMORIES David Guetta featuring Kid Cudi
101      TEENAGE DREAM Katy Perry
102      BELIEVER Goldfrapp
103      ONE BEAT AWAY Cicada
104      LOVE GET OUT OF MY WAY Monarchy
105      LIGHTS OUT Rick Astley
106      WITCHCRAFT Pendulum
107      ALL TIME LOW Wanted
108      HELLO Potbelleez
109      GOLD DUST DJ Fresh
110      MY WICKED HEART Diana Vickers
111      PUNCHING IN A DREAM The Naked & Famous
112      HURTFUL Erik Hassle
113      CLOSE TO YOU / FEAR OF TIGERS MIX The Venus Stare
114      NOT MYSELF TONIGHT Christina Aguilera
115      STAY TOO LONG Plan B
116      DYNAMITE Taio Cruz
117      EGO The Saturdays
118      I’M IN LOVE (I WANNA DO IT) Alex Gaudino
119      POP GOES THE WORLD Gossip
120      INVISIBLE LIGHT Scissor Sisters
121      NIGHT BY NIGHT Chromeo
122      NOTHIN’ ON YOU B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars
123      UNBROKEN Stan Walker     
124      YESTERDAY Toni Braxton
125      CARRY OUT Timbaland featuring Justin Timberlake
126      JUST A DREAM Nelly
127      NIGHT IS YOUNG Nelly Furtado
128      THE FEAR INSIDE Frankmusik
129      4TH OF JULY (FIREWORKS) Kelis
130      WOULD YOU RAISE YOUR HANDS? Rogue Traders
131      THE ISLAND Pendulum
132      HOT MESS Chromeo
133      UNDER THE SHEETS Ellie Goulding
134      TOGETHER Pet Shop Boys
135      ONE Sky Ferreira
136      FALL IN LOVE Estelle
137      JE NE SAIS QUOI Hera Bjork
138      HOLIDAYS Miami Horror featuring Alan Palomo
139      SATURDAY NIGHT Jessica Mauboy featuring Ludacris
140      COLD WAR Janelle Monae
141      SUNLIGHT Bag Raiders
142      GROOVE ME Maximum Balloon
143      ANY WHICH WAY Scissor Sisters
144      CLUB CAN’T HANDLE ME Flo Rida featuring David Guetta
145      BRING NIGHT Sia
146      RIDIN’ SOLO Jason Derulo
147      I LOOK TO YOU Miami Horror featuring Kimbra
149      KICKSTARTS Example
150      F U Cee Lo Green
151      SEEK BROMANCE Tim Berg
152      MARRY YOU Bruno Mars
153      ALEJANDRO Lady Gaga
154      BARBRA STREISAND Duck Sauce
155      IT’S OK Cee-Lo Green
156      REAL LIFE Kim Wilde
157      PARACHUTE Cheryl Cole
158      DO YOU MIND Robbie Williams
159      WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME Beyonce Knowles
160      COOLER THAN ME Mike Posner
161      DIRTY TALK Wynter Gordon
164      CRASH & BURN Sugababes
165      LOVE DON’T LIVE HERE Bananarama
166      TURN IT UP Pixie Lott
167      PUT IT IN A LOVE SONG Alicia Keys / Beyonce Knowles
168      RUDE BOY Rihanna
169      DON’T TURN THE LIGHTS ON Chromeo
170      PYRAMID Charice featuring Iyaz
171      GUNS AND HORSES Ellie Goulding
172      YOU’VE GOT THE LOVE Florence & The Machine
173      RUN AWAY Sunstroke Project & Olia Tira
174      VOLCANO Dragonette
175      I’M IN HERE Sia
176      CROSSFIRE Brandon Flowers
177      DO YOU REMEMBER Jay Sean featuring Sean Paul & Lil Jon
178      CALL ON ME Andy Bell
179      THE CATALYST Linkin Park
180      COUNTERPOINT Delphic
181      FIRE WITH FIRE Scissor Sisters
182      STRIP ME Natasha Bedingfield
183      REPLAY Iyaz
184      PLEASE DON’T GO Mike Posner
185      THERE GOES MY BABY Usher
186      PRIVATE EYES The Bird And The Bee
187      DEVOTION Hurts featuring Kylie Minogue
188      ALL TO MYSELF Guy Sebastian
189      BLUE SKIES Jamiroquai
190      OMG / ALMIGHTY MIX Usher featuring
191      GIVE A LITTLE MORE Maroon 5
192      LIKE IT’S HER BIRTHDAY Good Charlotte
193      ALL I EVER WANTED Kelly Clarkson
194      THE BIKE SONG Mark Ronson & The Business Intl
195      WHERE I’M GOING Cut Copy
196      SOMEBODY TO LOVE ME Mark Ronson featuring Boy George
197      AIRPLANES B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams
198      BIGGER THAN US White Lies
199      ONE (YOUR NAME) Swedish House Mafia featuring Pharrell Williams
200      DIRTEE DISCO Dizzee Rascal

That just leaves 2011 - and I'll count down my top 100 songs from that year at the end of November/start of December.

1979 II 1980 II 1981 II 1982 II 1983 II 1984 II 1985 II 1986 II 1987 II 1988 II 1989
1990 II 1991 II 1992 II 1993 II 1994 II 1995 II 1996 II 1997 II 1998 II 1999
2000 II 2001 II 2002 II 2003 II 2004 II 2005 II 2006 II 2007 II 2008 II 2009
2010 II 2011 II 2012 II 2013 II 2014 II 2015 II 2016